Who Is Demeter?:
Family of Origin:
Demeter in Rome:
Ceres was also referred to as Dea Dia in connection with a three-day May Ambarvalia festival, according to "Tibullus and the Ambarvalia," by C. Bennett Pascal, in The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 109, No. 4 (Winter, 1988), pp. 523-536. Also see Ovid's Amores Book III.X, in an English translation: "No Sex -- It's the Festival Of Ceres".
Persephone and Demeter:
Demeter and her daughter are at the center of the widest spread Greek mystery cult -- the Eleusinian Mysteries -- a mystery religion that was popular in Greece and in the Roman Empire. Named for the location in Eleusis, the mystery cult may have started in the Mycenaean period, according to Helene P. Foley, in The Homeric hymn to Demeter: translation, commentary, and interpretive essays. She says that substantial remains of the cult begin in the 8th century B.C., and that the Goths destroyed the sanctuary a few years before the start of the fifth century A.D. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter is the oldest record of the Eleusinian Mysteries, but it is a mystery and we don't really know what transpired.
Myths Involving Demeter:
Myths about Demeter (Ceres) re-told by Thomas Bulfinch include:
Orphic Hymn to Demeter (Ceres):
O Universal mother, Ceres fam'd
August, the source of wealth, and various nam'd: 2
Great nurse, all-bounteous, blessed and divine,
Who joy'st in peace, to nourish corn is thine:
Goddess of seed, of fruits abundant, fair, 5
Harvest and threshing, are thy constant care;
Who dwell'st in Eleusina's seats retir'd,
Lovely, delightful queen, by all desir'd.
Nurse of all mortals, whose benignant mind,
First ploughing oxen to the yoke confin'd; 10
And gave to men, what nature's wants require,
With plenteous means of bliss which all desire.
In verdure flourishing in honor bright,
Assessor of great Bacchus, bearing light:
Rejoicing in the reapers sickles, kind, 15
Whose nature lucid, earthly, pure, we find.
Prolific, venerable, Nurse divine,
Thy daughter loving, holy Proserpine:
A car with dragons yok'd, 'tis thine to guide, 19
And orgies singing round thy throne to ride: 20
Only-begotten, much-producing queen,
All flowers are thine and fruits of lovely green.
Bright Goddess, come, with Summer's rich increase
Swelling and pregnant, leading smiling Peace;
Come, with fair Concord and imperial Health, 25
And join with these a needful store of wealth.
From: The Hymns of Orpheus
Translated by Thomas Taylor